This is the only golf tournament of the year I wish was played backwards. As a 7-5 working man, I won’t see the majority of the 64 matches that make up this week’s AGC Accenture Match Play Championship. If only they could set it up where one match was played Wednesday and then 32 on Sunday.
Oh well, I imagine I’ll live. If I were going to be in front of the TV Wednesday, here are the top five matches I’d want to see. (For a preview of all 32 matches, check out PGATour.com)
Ian Poulter vs. Stewart Cink
Both these guys tend to play well in this format and their styles are night and day. Poulter’s brash and loud where as Cink is quiet and steady. Poulter’s win at this event last year is probably his biggest to date – but things won’t go so well for him this year.
Prediction: Cink pulls the upset 3 and 2
Charl Schwartzel vs. Ryo Ishikawa
This is Ishikawa’s second trip to the match play event after reaching the third round last year. Schwartzel isn’t a household name in the U.S. but he’s beaten some big names before.
I expect this one to go extra holes and we’ll find out if Ishikawa’s young brilliance can hold up.
Prediction: Schwartzel in 19 holes
Bubba Watson vs. Bill Haas
Man I’d love to be able to watch this match. Both guys are monster-long off the tee. They’re both relative young, new faces to the golf scene. I’m a huge Watson fan but can’t deny Haas has played great in this early season. I don’t think Haas will put it together for 18 holes though – and I know Watson can.
Prediction: Bubba 2 and 1
Geoff Ogilvy vs. Padraig Harrington
A match up like this just proves seeding is irrelevant. These two guys are both great players who have had phenomenal stretches in their career and some so-so parts too. I honestly feel like Harrington’s hitting it a bit better as of late, but Ogilvy has played very well here in the past (three trips to the finals).
Prediction: Ogilvy’s not headed back to the finals this year, but he’s going to nip Harrington on the final hole.
Ernie Els vs. Jeff Overton
One of the most indelible images from the 2010 Ryder Cup was Overton fist pumping after holing out in the second-day matches. Overton is a fierce competitor who seems to have a flair for this style of competition. This could be a big week for him. He’ll make nothing easy for The Big Easy.
Prediction: Overton 4 and 3